Ultra Lajkonik - Poland’s ‘magical’ ultra-endurance race

Taking place at the end of April, Ultra Lajkonik is an ultra-endurance race that uncovers Poland’s natural beauty 

Lake Rożnowskie is a man-made lake, located in southern Poland, in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship. Created in 1941, the lake has seen decades of time pass, but one thing that has remained unchanged is its surrounding natural beauty. The shimmering blue waters are a stark contrast against the verdant green forested shores, with tall trees standing guarding like soldiers.

Further along the lake’s shores sits a quaint, timeless village called Bartkowa, dotted with golden-wood-coloured houses. It is here, in this tiny simple place, that hundreds of cyclists will descend on April 29, 2024, ready to embark on Ultra Lajkonik, a not-so-simple journey that’ll see them cover 670km, 450km or 200km through the foothills of the Malopolska and Podkarpacie regions. 

The longest route, with a time limit of 90 hours, first heads west towards Krakow, going as far as Dobczyce, a small historic town that lies 30km from the region's city. The riders will be treated to views of the pristine lake and Dobczyce Castle, which dates back to the 14th century. The route then heads east, greeting riders with climbs such as the Dabrowa, Slona Góra, Trzemeska Góra, and Kokocz. Towards the end of the route, with hundreds of kilometres already conquered, riders will traverse a small section of the Czarnorzeki-Strzyżów Park and Pasmo Brzanki Park before heading back to their starting point on the shores of Lake Rożnowskie. 

The middle route, which still stands at an enormous 450km with a 90-hour time limit, does not head as far west as the longest route. Instead, it takes riders to the cultural village of Lipnica Murowana – a town famous for its UNESCO World Heritage site, St. Leonard's Church. Built in the 15th century, the Gothic church is adorned with intricate carvings and colourful frescoes and has a soaring timber roof – a must-see for those riding the 450km route. The route rejoins those tackling the 650 km-long course in Doly and completes a similar course for the remainder of the course. 

For those riding the shorter route, starting a day later on April 30 with an 80-hour time limit, the riders stay to the right-hand side of the river Dunajec – a river that runs through southern Poland and northern Slovakia – to Szepanowice, before heading east, where the riders will be able to take in more of Poland's rolling landscapes. As the route heads back towards its starting point, riders will cross through the middle of the rugged Brzanki Range Landscape Park, catching glimpses of the Carpathian Mountains. 

Marcin Grudziński, the organiser of Lajkonik and founder of ULTRAdventure cycling shop in Krakow, said about the route: “The places you will reach will be so magical that it would be inappropriate to write about them and take away the pleasure of tasting them. And in May, they [the participants] will taste the sweet smell of fruit trees, rain washing away the winter dust, and the salty sweat of the riders. It’ll be joyful, cold, cheerful, wet, fragrant and heavy.” A real experience for the senses. 

Whether riders choose to endure the longest distance or opt for the smaller, but still demanding 200km course, they will be treated to a journey of discovery – not only about themselves and how far their bodies can be pushed, but behind the beautiful country that is Poland.

Riders will encounter charming villages, historic towns, and cultural landmarks, each offering insights into the country's rich heritage and traditions. Whether it's the medieval castles of Dobczyce, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lipnica Murowana, or the rugged landscapes of the Brzanki Range Landscape Park, every stop along the route reveals a different facet of Poland's beauty and diversity.

Learn more about Ultra Lajkonik

Shop now